SOCIAL SCENE: 2017 was a great year for event organisers and although there were some bad shows, they only served as a lesson for the next. Here are our best five picks for memory’s sake.
It is now not news that 2017 is right behind us. And here comes 2018. Yet, we cannot move forward without giving a nod to those events that got everyone talking in Uganda. They are the events that left people satisfied and yearning for more of the same once again. In MC Kapale’s words; ‘these events had real work.’ They rocked, they delivered beyond expectation and they formed the everlasting memories of 2017. If you did not attend any of these events, then you need to rethink your citizenship as an upcoming somebody in this country.
Nyege Nyege became the passport for urban, cool, fresh and super awesome. Nyege Nyege did not just set the bar high, it became the gold standard by which all future events shall be judged. In Nyege Nyege, Ugandans and the world over discovered something within them. Males went to Nyege Nyege as boys and returned as men. The female species went as girls and returned as women. This was not just an event, it was a moment when all the excitement that lived in many’s imaginations came to reality.
If feedback is anything to go by, Nyege Nyege could have earned itself the spot as the first Ugandan event to be concluded and not have any negative feedback from its crowd. Not even the soggy moments could curtail the fun, if anything, the rain and the mud did more to make it an event to remember.
For three days, this third edition of Nyege Nyege was a threesome of great music, great food, great dance and unrivalled organisation. It under-promised and over-delivered. All afro-centric music genres were served with abandon, the sound and performances were delivered without any hold back. Imagine 400 musicians, on four stages (Umoja, Electro, Bell and Chill), imagine three days where one could not afford to blink, then you can imagine Nyege Nyege.
Nyege Nyege was the source of originality, all birthed at the Nile Discovery Beach in Jinja at the Source of River Nile. It did tick all the boxes on our checklist. Yet, for a writer, words in themselves, cannot capture the event that was Nyege Nyege, it is an experience that must be felt on a very individual level. So for number one of 2017, Nyege Nyege takes the spot.
2. Morgan Heritage Concert
If cost is to go by as one of the metrics, coupled with value for the money, Morgan Heritage then earns the second spot. The VVIP ticket went for Shs300,000 but that did not stop Ugandans from rolling down for a Holy Thursday with this Grammy-award winning band. You did not haffi dread to enjoy the performance of this band. To many, only one event captures the Easter holidays of 2017, and that is none other than Morgan Heritage. It has been long since Lugogo Cricket Oval ever had a near fill up, Morgan Heritage came close to breaking UB40’s record on these grounds.
The Morgans performed all their hit songs known to Ugandans, throwing them into enthralled stitches. It was such a very engaged crowd, singing along, and dancing to all these reggae hits such as Tell Me How Come and Meet Me By The River. It is often said that timing is everything, this concert wins the day for its superb timing. It was the right band, for the right season, on the right grounds. Speak of perfection, then speak of Morgan Heritage.
3. DJ Diplo Concert
Third spots are always contested heavily. And this is one of those spots that could have easily gone to Wizkid. The judges disagreed and in the end, yours truly was given the powers to have the final word on this. DJ Diplo carried the day with the event premiere for deejays only.
This concert was proof that Electronica is the next big thing in Uganda, and it is a style that is bound to rule for 2018. The event went for the safe bet of a Friday night (you never trust Ugandans so much on other days). Nonetheless, few imagined that Ugandans could abandon everything and camp at the Golf Course Hotel.
DJ Diplo and his hype buddy, Walshy Fire bedazzled the crowd like fire and smoke. Everyone was kept on their feet, there was no rest. The sleep was postponed to the next months. Here was a DJ that had a crack of his game. This event proved that great deejays can always make an event worth its time. There was no artiste to perform, it was the DJs speaking to their decks and sharing the conversations with the audience in ways that could never be explained. Special mentions go to DJ Aludah, Dark Meme and DJ Beekay who also put up a worthy display of deejaying antics.
4. The Night Live With Wiz Kid
Wizkid has a special knack for missing his flights to Uganda. In fact, many did not believe he was in the country until he stepped on the stage. One of the event organisers made sure Wiz Kid recorded each and every step of his day in the week that followed up to the event. Maybe he wanted to land after Tekno and Mr Eazy because then he would have a show to beat. He even chose to get here in December, making 2017 one of the years that Ugandans had all the best served to them.
All that Ugandans needed in December was sweet love and this, the young man gave to us. It was another show that took a dare to be held on a Thursday, something many had written off as a big risk. But hey, Ugandans have their money, and their wallets are always ready to spend on ‘Daddy Yo’.
The reason this show lost the third spot was because it performed on a mediocre level as per organisation. It was less than one and a half hours of hit after hit with a live band to back him up. He was as natural as they could get. For many, with Wizkid, what one saw on TV is what they got in actual performance.
5. ASFAs 2017
The glamour and glitz of Hollywood stepped into the city on the night of the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards in November. Right from the grounds of Kampala Serena Hotel to the production of the award ceremony, it was impression. The red carpet was a show of fashion as celebrities, socialites, corporate royalty and even monarchists outdid themselves with flowing gowns and stunning accessories. Social media almost broke with photographs of dashing women and men who graced the function. We cannot forget KCCA bosslady Jennifer Musisi’s breathtaking red gown or Rema’s princess gold and Nigerian actress Nana Akuaaddo’s glass-inspired dress. The Asfas proved that Ugandan fashion has come of age with winners deserving, and showcasers of the night remarkable as were the designers. Did you see Mai Atafo’s showcase? Jeez!
6. Bonus Award
2017 presented one of the hardest choices of judgment. It was a melange of the best that Uganda has experienced in many years. It brought some of the hottest musicians in Africa. Yet for a bonus award, this spot goes to two events. One of those was DJ Roja and Slick Stuart’s Mixtape party. It was the event of November. This award also gets to be shared by two others; PJ Powers’ Jabulani Charity Concert, Geosteady Live in concert and Gravity Omutujju’s Mujje Tujjuze Lugogo. For Gravity, it was a man who proved to everyone that he had come of age. He was not just another upcoming artiste, he was someone with a name, and a following. Maybe it was his statement to KCCA that he deserved to be paid equally as much as our in-law, Diamond Platnumz.
These were the events that sealed 2017 and set a new standard for 2018.